With Robinson Cano’s suspension, Mariners prepare for Dee Gordon at 2B
The Mariners want Dee Gordon to be their long-term center fielder. But with Robinson Cano suspended for 80 games due to a drug policy violation, Seattle’s best option now appears to be returning Gordon to the position where he won a Gold Glove in 2015.
Gordon was out at second base on Tuesday afternoon at Safeco Field, taking grounders at the spot for the first time since the Mariners traded for him last offseason to play center field, a position at that point he had never played as a professional.
“I’ve played this position,” Gordon said of second base, “but considering the circumstances it’s definitely not how you want it to happen, especially to a great guy like Robbie. I’m just going to try to help us for this season, see what we can do, try to get into the postseason.”
With Cano now out until mid-August – much longer than the two to four weeks the Mariners expected when they put him on the disabled list Monday for a broken right pinky – it quickly became apparent that Gordon back at second base made more sense than ever for Seattle.
“Our first instinct was, alright, we’re not going to sit down and talk to Dee about moving to second base,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto told Danny, Dave and Moore about when Cano suffered his injury Sunday. “We’ll do more harm than good by taking him away from that development in center field, which we feel like has generally been better and better every day. But now we’re talking about 80 days or more, that’s a different story.”
A big reason is that it will allow the Mariners to field a day-to-day lineup with its nine best available players, as Guillermo Heredia taking a spot in the outfield and Gordon going to second is preferable to Gordon Beckham or Andrew Romine playing second with Gordon still in center. It may also be easier for the Mariners to acquire an additional outfielder than pick up a brand new second baseman on the market.
“Outfield does seem to be a more readily-available surplus around the league than second base,” Dipoto said, adding the caveat that May isn’t an ideal time for trades due to how many teams are still in the playoff race. “The one thing I do know is we can go and somewhere, whether internally or otherwise, find outfield solutions that can help us get the ball across the court between now and August. We will not be able to find a better second baseman than Dee Gordon.”
Gordon won’t be back in the infield immediately. He was penciled in at center field in Tuesday’s series opener vs. Texas, and both Dipoto and manager Scott Servais said they want Gordon to work out at second for multiple days before making the switch.
Dee Gordon: Second Baseman. pic.twitter.com/MSoetdCuEj
— Brent Stecker (@BrentStecker) May 15, 2018
As for Gordon, while he said he was “all-in” with playing center field, he admitted to a sense of relief knowing he’ll return to a position he’s more familiar.
“Not gonna sit here and tell you that some days when it didn’t go too well out there in center I didn’t wish I was back at second,” Gordon said. “Honestly, I might feel less edge. Center field’s pretty tough. Trying to learn in the big leagues, pretty much can’t make any mistakes without them being blown up.”